What Is a Second Cousin Twice Removed - This Chart Explains It All
Degrees of Family Relationships
Family relationships are interesting enough, but when we get into figuring out second and third cousins, it gets really confusing. And what does “twice removed” mean anyway? I admit that I always thought my first cousin’s children were my second cousins, but this is not the case. Second cousins are more distantly related. The chart below straightens out all the confusion.
The numbers in the small red rectangles show what percentage the person is blood-related to you. For example, you are related to your father by 50%, while you and your first cousins are only related by 12.5%.
Family Relationship Chart
First Cousins, Second Cousins
Your first cousins are the children of your aunts and uncles, or put another way, the nieces and nephews of your parents. That is pretty easy to figure out. You share the same grandparents with all of your first cousins. It gets trickier with second and third cousins.
Second cousins are the children of your parents’ first cousins, and share the same great-grandparents as you. Their grandparents are your grandaunt and uncle. Third cousins are the children of your parents’ second cousins. Third cousins are pretty distant, but you share the same great-great-grandparents. Your second cousins are related to you by 3.125%, while third cousins are related to you by only .781%
Family Relationship Quiz
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Once Removed, Twice Removed
When speaking of family relationships, the phrase "once removed" means one generation up or down from you. Your first cousin’s child is your first cousin once removed, and your mother’s first cousins are also your first cousins once removed. Whether your first cousin once removed is in the generation above you or after you, you are related to him by 6.25%.
"Twice removed" is used for a relationship with a person two generations ahead or behind you. Your first cousin's grandchildren will be your first cousins twice removed. Looking back up the chart, you also have first cousins twice removed who are the first cousins of your grandparents. You are related to all of your first cousins twice removed by 3.125%, which happens to be how closely related you are to your second cousins. So, these groups of cousins are just as closely related, but in different ways.
Greats and Grands, Nieces and Nephews
Grandparents and great-grandparents are very commonly used titles for the parents and grandparents of our parents. In my family, though, we never refer to grand aunts or uncles, but simply call them great aunts and uncles. Technically, though, your parents' aunts and uncles are your grand aunts and uncles. The aunts and uncles of your grandparents would be your great-grand aunts and uncles.
If your nephew had a child, it would be common for you to say “my nephew’s child.” That would be correct, but the child is also referred to as your grandnephew. Your grandnephew’s child would be your great-grandnephew, so the pattern is identical to that of grandchildren and great grandchildren.
The family relationship diagram in this article is based on consanguinity, or how people are related by blood. There are factors such as divorce, half-siblings, and so on that might complicate the chart, especially with the blood relation percentages. Even so, the chart serves as a good base to determine the correct titles of all your cousins, nieces, nephews, and grands.